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Sloppy joes on a plate with salad and steak fries

Instant Pot Sloppy Joes

In just minutes, this vegetable-infused, tangy-sweet meat mixture comes together into something the whole family will enjoy. Make Instant Pot Sloppy Joes ahead of time for a simple drop-and-go meal for busy nights.

Yield: 4 large sandwiches 1x
Prep: 5 minutesCook: 20 minutes (+ 5 minutes come to pressure time)Total: 30 minutes


  • 3 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (sub: ground turkey or ground chicken)
  • 2 teaspoons all-natural steak seasoning (recommend: Weber Montana Steak Seasoning)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided (sub: brown sugar or coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped or finely shredded
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon all-natural Worcestershire sauce (recommend: Lea Perrin’s brand)
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans unsalted tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted (see Cooking Notes)
  • Optional: 4 slices cheddar cheese

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Make It Now:

  1. Brown the Beef: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Add 1 teaspoon of the oil into the pot and heat until shimmery. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, for 2 minutes. Add the steak seasoning and 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup and stir to combine with the meat. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes more. Transfer the beef to a paper towel-lined plate and wipe out the pot.
  2. Saute the Veggies: Pour the remaining 2 teaspoons oil into the pot and heat until shimmery. Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper. Cook until veggies are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, vinegar, and Worcestershire during the last 30-60 seconds of cook time. Press “Cancel.”
  3. Pressure Cook the Mixture: Return the beef to the pot and add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Stir to combine. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Taste and season with salt and pepper. (This is a good time to toast the buns. See Cooking Notes.)
  4. Serve: There will be a lot of liquid in the mixture, so use a large slotted spoon to scoop it onto the toasted bun bottoms. Top each with a slice of cheese, if desired, and cover with the tops of the buns.

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1-3. Let the meat mixture fully cool, then freeze in a freezer bag or container. Freeze along with the buns and cheese slices to create a meal kit.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the meal kit. Rewarm the meat mixture in the Instant Pot on the Low slow cooker setting or in the microwave, stirring occasionally. 


  • To toast the hamburger buns: Place them on a sheet pan with the insides facing up. Preheat the oven’s broiler to high and broil them on the top rack for about a minute or until golden brown. Watch closely so they don’t burn!
  • Stovetop Instructions: You can make this quickly on the stovetop using our Homemade Sloppy Joes recipe.
  • Ground Beef Sub: You can substitute ground turkey or ground chicken for the ground beef, if desired.
  • Substitute for steak seasoning: Use 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon onion powder, 1/8 teaspoon paprika, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
  • Gluten-free version: Use gluten-free buns or serve over baked potatoes (perhaps as part of a Baked Potato Bar). Also, be sure to select a gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, like Lea Perrin’s brand.
  • Dairy-free version: Omit the optional cheese slice.
  • Can I double this recipe? Yes, we have tested doubling this recipe in the Instant Pot, and it works to do so at this same cook time. (It will take a little longer to brown the meat and saute the veggies, though.)
  • What to Do If You Get a Burn Notice: Stir in 1/4 cup beef or chicken broth to the mixture and try again.
© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: American Method: Instant Pot